HL Financial Services LLC Sells 857 Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

HL Financial Services LLC cut its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) by 0.4% in the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 232,180 shares of the company’s stock after selling 857 shares during the quarter. HL Financial Services LLC’s holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. were worth $17,741,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other institutional investors and hedge funds also recently modified their holdings of MRK. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 186.4% in the fourth quarter. Contravisory Investment Management Inc. now owns 653 shares of the company’s stock worth $50,000 after purchasing an additional 425 shares during the period. Arlington Partners LLC increased its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 93.5% in the fourth quarter. Arlington Partners LLC now owns 828 shares of the company’s stock worth $63,000 after purchasing an additional 400 shares during the period. Advisors Preferred LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter worth $66,000. Financial Gravity Companies Inc. purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter worth $66,000. Finally, Essex Investment Management Co. LLC purchased a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the fourth quarter worth $95,000. Institutional investors own 73.60% of the company’s stock.

In related news, Director Leslie A. Brun sold 3,052 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $77.22, for a total transaction of $235,675.44. Following the sale, the director now owns 5,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $386,100. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP Rita A. Karachun sold 64,662 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $78.96, for a total value of $5,105,711.52. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 53,327 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,210,699.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 888,066 shares of company stock worth $71,800,379. 0.27% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several brokerages have recently commented on MRK. Bank of America raised their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. from $90.00 to $91.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 1st. BMO Capital Markets restated a “hold” rating on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a research note on Tuesday, February 19th. Argus raised their price target on Merck & Co., Inc. to $95.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 20th. ValuEngine upgraded Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, May 3rd. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered Merck & Co., Inc. from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 24th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and twelve have given a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $82.92.

MRK stock traded up $0.15 during trading on Thursday, reaching $78.33. 6,552,843 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 11,387,901. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 12 month low of $57.49 and a 12 month high of $83.85. The company has a market cap of $210.42 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.05, a PEG ratio of 1.89 and a beta of 0.58. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.74, a current ratio of 1.17 and a quick ratio of 0.92.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 30th. The company reported $1.22 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.05 by $0.17. Merck & Co., Inc. had a return on equity of 38.85% and a net margin of 19.50%. The company had revenue of $10.82 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $10.45 billion. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.05 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.8% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 4.72 EPS for the current year.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Profile

Merck & Co, Inc provides healthcare solutions worldwide. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services, and Alliances. The company offers therapeutic and preventive agents to treat cardiovascular, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C virus, HIV-1 infection, intra-abdominal, fungal infection, insomnia, and inflammatory diseases.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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